Your dog has been acting strangely. They’re following you from room to room, they cry when you leave the house, and they won’t let you out of their sight for a second.
You love your dog more than anything in the world, but this new behavior is hard for both of you.
It’s not natural… so something must be wrong with them, right?
Dogs are very attached to their humans, and we keep them feeling safe and secure. They need us just as much as we need them.
But why is your dog so attached to you all of sudden?
What’s the cause behind this behavior?
Let’s take a closer look.
Why Does My Dog Follow Me Around?
You’re getting ready for work and your dog is following you from room to room, even into the bathroom. From a human perspective, it doesn’t make much sense – but canines do it all the time.
Dogs are highly social animals, and they thrive on companionship.
It’s likely that your dog wants to spend as much time with you as possible because they perceive every moment with you as a chance for fun and fulfillment.
In addition to being social animals, dogs are highly pack-oriented. In the canine world, there’s a strict hierarchy – everyone knows their rank within the family pack.
The single greatest sign of respect that a lower-ranked animal can give to a higher-ranked one is to follow him or her around. The message is, “I want to be wherever you are.”
Why Is My Dog So Clingy All of a Sudden?
In most cases, your dog is clingy because they’re trying to cope with a new and stressful situation.
They’ve been through an event that’s made them feel threatened, or something is making them feel anxious and insecure.
This could be triggered by a number of reasons, which we’ll explore next.
16 Reasons Why Your Dog Has Become So Attached
1. They Have Separation Anxiety
Some dogs can develop separation anxiety, which means they become anxious when you’re not around.
Dogs with separation anxiety feel alone and scared without your company, and when you’re not around, they feel isolated and “cut off” from the pack.
And when you’re back home, they may become very attached to you and follow everywhere you go.
You may notice that it gets worse at times when you return home, or if there are certain changes in the household environment.
The problem of separation anxiety can be hard to live with for both you and your dog.
Signs of separation anxiety include:
- Destructive Behaviors
- Following you around everywhere
If you think your dog might have separation anxiety, talk to your vet about treatment options.
2. They’re A Velcro Dog
A “Velcro dog” is the term given to those dogs who follow you everywhere in the house, and as the name suggests, stick to you like Velcro.
They’ll not want to let you out of sight, and they’ll follow you into any room, out into the yard, and maybe even want to join you in the bathroom, too!
These dogs are often breeds associated with being a lapdog, and it’s a trait of the breed to some degree.
However, there’s a difference between being a Velcro dog and having separation anxiety.
Simply put: A Velcro dog will follow you around when you’re there, but they’ll still be able to cope when you’re not around.
3. They Want Your Companionship
Some dogs are just super social, and they thrive on companionship.
Dogs like this will follow you around wanting to be with their best friend, which sometimes can make them seem like clingy dogs.
But if their demands for attention are met, then there’s no problem.
The only catch is that you’ll have to be around them 24/7!
There are some dogs who simply want to spend as much time with you as possible because they love the attention and affection that comes from being around their favorite person.
These dogs will try anything to get your attention, even if it means following you everywhere!
4. They’re Worried About Something
If you’re not sure what’s causing your dog to act this way, then it may be that they’re feeling anxious about something.
Because of their pack nature, dogs will become attached to their owners because they see them as part of the pack. When they feel like something is wrong in the world around them, they’ll go to their owner for safety and reassurance.
How can you tell whether your dog is worried about something?
Dogs aren’t known for their subtlety when it comes to showing emotions, so you might notice they:
- Are afraid to leave your side.
- Need constant reassurance from you.
- Follow you around the house.
- Press against your legs for comfort.
- Show signs of aggression toward people or other pets.
- Shiver and shake at the slightest thing.
Anxiety in dogs is also more common in certain breeds.
If your dog is clinging to you like their life depends on it, then they’re likely worried about something and they’re using you as a source of comfort.
Some dogs can develop anxiety or stress for any number of reasons.
Further signs your dog might be anxious include excessive barking, digging, shredding of items in the house, and so on.
It’s important to figure out why they’re feeling this way, and give them plenty of love and attention until you can work out a better solution for both of you.
5. They’re Worried About You
Dogs are empathetic by nature, and they can pick up on your feelings easily. If something’s bothering you, then it probably means that it’s going to bother them too.
A lot of dogs will act clingy if they sense you’re worried or stressed and they’ll give you extra attention. This may be because you’ve had a bad day, or something else is on your mind.
6. You’re Pregnant
Dogs have a better sense of smell than we do, and they may pick up on a hormonal change in your scent that says you’re pregnant.
This is why some dogs will sometimes act like your shadow when you’re pregnant, and they’ll want to be around you all the time.
They’ll calm down once you’ve given birth and brought the baby home, but it might take some time before they get used to the new member of the pack!
7. They’re Pregnant (And About To Give Birth)
If your dog is pregnant, she might act clingy because of the increased hormone changes and sensitivity she feels, so she’ll turn to her owner for support in these circumstances.
Don’t be surprised if you notice her sleeping at your feet, or right by your side.
She’s feeling particularly clingy because she knows the time is coming for her to give birth and she wants to have you nearby.
8. They’re In Pain
Dogs who are in pain should never be left alone, and if you notice your dog acting clingy when they’re hurt or sick, then you should seek medical attention for them.
Their clinginess is not just about wanting your attention, but it’s also a sign that they’re not feeling well.
They want to be with you so you can take care of them and make sure they get the help they need until they feel better again.
9. They Have Abandonment Issues
If a dog’s life experience has shown them they’ll be abandoned or neglected if they’re left alone, then it makes sense they’ll become very attached and follow you anywhere you go.
Unfortunately, this can often occur with dogs who’s been rescued from a shelter.
They may fixate on their favorite person and never leave their side, and they’ll need extra care and support to help them through it.
10. They Need More Exercise Or Mental Stimulation
Dogs who don’t get enough exercise will often display clingy behavior as a way to try and convince their owners to take them on a walk or a trip to the park, particularly when they’re bored or needing some extra mental stimulation from you.
If your dog gets enough exercise and mental stimulation every day, they’ll be able to relax and sleep more.
But if they don’t get their regular walk or playtime in for whatever reason, you’ll notice they seem to want more of your attention and affection than usual.
Ensuring they get enough physical activity can really help in this case.
11. They’re Feeling Anxious Around Strangers
Dogs might view new people as a threat if they don’t know them, and some dogs can show more signs of anxiety when you have guests over or when strangers come to the house.
If your dog is acting clingy around strangers, it’s because they feel like they need to be close to you in order to feel safe and protected.
12. They’re Alerting You To a Threat
Dogs can sense when there’s something wrong in the environment, like if there are other animals nearby, or they hear a loud noise that makes them uneasy.
If your dog is acting clingy for this reason, then spend more time with them so they can feel safer and calmer.
13. It’s a Breed Trait
Certain breeds are more pre-disposed to display clingy behavior and become overly attached to their favorite owner.
Dogs that were traditionally used as lapdogs are prime candidates for this behavior, as well as any working breed that was used to always being near their humans.
For example, Labrador retrievers were partly bred to follow humans around, so it comes as no surprise when the behavior continues from one generation to the next.
14. There’s Been A Change In Daily Routine
Dogs are creatures of habit, so if you’ve recently changed something in their routine or introduced a new member to the family, then your dog might act clingy because they’re not sure what’s going on.
They want everything to go back to normal as soon as possible, and that means being with you every step of the way until they feel safe again.
15. It’s Been Positively Reinforced
A key concept from dog training is “positive reinforcement”. So, if your dog is receiving praise and rewards for their clingy behavior, then you can be sure the behavior is going to continue.
When you’re giving your dog lots of attention, praise, or even food rewards for being clingy, then they’ll follow you everywhere.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be deliberate for it to occur.
For example, if you’re eating a tasty snack and dropping the occasional crumb that your dog laps up… you can rest assured that the dog isn’t going to let you out of sight!
16. There’s a Medical Issue
Some dogs who’ve suddenly become more attached and clingy could be dealing with a medical issue.
For example, older dogs with medical conditions or cognitive dysfunction who used to be very independent may suddenly become more attached, particularly if their sense of hearing or vision is deteriorating.
As you’d expect, vision loss is a challenging time, so it makes sense that your dog becomes more dependent on their owner.
So, they stick close to you for a sense of safety and security when a health issue is troubling them.
If your furry friend is becoming clingy, then it’s time to take a closer look at why they’re feeling this way.
The point isn’t to stop the clingy behavior directly, but to determine the underlying cause so you can find an alternate solution that keeps everyone happy.
While there are many reasons behind dogs acting clingy, you have the power to change things for your dog if you take the time to assess their behavior.
So, take a deep breath and start to think about why your dog might be acting clingy.
And don’t be afraid to seek out expert advice on the situation. If there are behavioral issues that could be resolved with a professional’s help, it’s wise to do so.
It could make all the difference for both of you!